Liz Halliday missed out on the chance to secure another LMP2 victory in the American Le Mans Series after a dramatic fire put the Intersport Racing Lola out of the Generac 500.

Team-mate Clint Field had put the Lola B05/40 AER on pole position in class for the two hour 45 minute 'sprint' race with Halliday taking the start and building a comfortable 45 second lead to the second in class Miracle Motorsport Courage before things went wrong half an hour in.

"Everything was going really well until suddenly on lap 13, as I was coming out of the Canada corner, I could smell fuel in the cockpit and then I started to lose gears," Halliday said. "As I was trying to get the car back to the pit lane I lost all the gears, and then I saw some smoke coming out of the cockpit and the back of the car. I didn't realise at the time, but the team radioed that I was on fire! The race was over for us, which is a real shame after such a strong start. I did my best to stay away from the racing line and make sure we were not in the way of the other cars."

As if the car catching fire wasn't bad enough, the drama wasn't over for Halliday once she exited the car.

"As I was driving into the pit lane, I had to jump out of the car as the flames intensified," she said. "Then it became quite scary as the entry to the pit-lane is up a hill and the car, on fire, was rolling back towards the track. I managed to stop the car, I don't know how, and avoid a car pile-up before the marshals arrived with fire extinguishers!

"The mechanics have now checked the car and it looks like the fire started when the fuel filter split. It is a real shame because the car was running extremely well; we were in the lead of the LMP2 class after starting from pole position and I made a very good rolling start and kept the lead. When the fire started we were 45 seconds ahead of the second LMP2 car which I am very proud of. I was pushing but I was sensible as we were comfortably in the lead and I didn't want to make any mistakes and loose the lead. We were on our way to another win but it was not meant to be.

"Clint proved again in qualifying that we have a fantastic chassis-engine combination and I look forward to the next ALMS round at Mosport during the first weekend of September. We will be back for a win!"

 

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